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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  February 2007

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE February 2007

Subject:

Re: list clutter, and the value of discussion

From:

Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 17 Feb 2007 13:40:43 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (266 lines)

I agree entirely.  Thank you, Frank and Claudia.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Claudia Hemphill <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List              
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: list clutter, and the value of discussion
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 09:26:40 -0800

Thank you Frank, and others, for the salutary summary and reminders.

I, like Martha, am concerned when my email goes awash in dozens of SftP
postings more loaded with ego than efforts at insight.  Sometimes the
discussions seem to display more testosterone and gratuitous antagonism
(i.e., trolling: the intentional baiting of others) than a contribution
toward reasoned and helpful discussion.

On the other hand, the very fact that the topics raise such hackles, and
provoke such immoderate and offensive behavior, is an interesting index
of the importance of the topics, and thus the need for such discussions
to resolve them.

I sighed heavily all week as they piled up, but when I finally had a
chance  ... okay, decided to avoid work ... to read them, I found the
entire thread interesting, as (1) Science-for-the-People, or questioning
of the "business" of science; (2) equal (or even more necessary)
interrogation of the left, progressive and/or socialist stance toward
science; (3) very slight amounts of new information on the topics at
hand (AIDS, vitamin therapy, etc.); (4) sociology of science, including
rich evidence of the role of gender in science, as well as the politics
of science, and the role of class & geographic location (e.g., Mandi) in
science.  And (5) some much-needed philosophy of science:  Carrol Cox's
lucid differentiation of attacks that are personal, ad hominem, or
simply bad reasoning (Ave atque vale, Carrol!)

In the long run, all good.  Fodder for thought, if not for helping "the
people." I stand with others, though, in encouraging a voluntary limit
by the voluble to just one or two posts per person, per day!

Claudia Hemphill Pine
PhD Candidate, Environmental Science
Adjunct Instructor, Env.Science/ Philosophy/ Film & Society
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, USA


----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Rosenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Saturday, February 17, 2007 7:53 am
Subject: Re: list clutter
To: [log in to unmask]

 > Dear all:
 >
 > Hi.  I am Frank Rosenthal, a former SFTP activist, who has been
 > "lurking" on
 > this list for some time.  Although, I must admit I have been sometimes
 > annoyed and dismayed at the recent banter on the list (both in
 > terms of its
 > tone and content), I am struck by what seems to be a useful purpose
 > of the
 > interchange.  The left has sometimes been plagued with an anti-
 > scientificbent.  This gets to the point where it is difficult to
 > express, in the
 > left/progressive community, legitimate questions about various
 > issues, e.g.
 > the extent of the risks posed by depleted uranium, the uses of genetic
 > modified organisms, etc.  (I note that someone recently resigned
 > from this
 > list, apparently because they ran out of time and/or patience,
 > answeringrepeated unscientific statements about radioactivity and
 > the toxicity of
 > depleted uranium etc.).
 >
 > I feel that, while not in any way lessening our advocacy on issues
 > we feel
 > are important, it is important to evaluate evidence, as objectively as
 > possible, in deciding what to advocate for.  And the SFTP list is
 > about the
 > only forum I have seen where science oriented activists can have a
 > frankdiscussion on some of these issues. So the list can sometimes
 > serve to "air
 > out" these issues.  At the risk of sounding trite, we live in a
 > complexworld, involving lots of science and technology.  I think
 > that the left and
 > progressive forces must try to understand this complexity if we are
 > at all
 > to succeed.   Hopefully, those of us with scientific training can
 > help.
 > On the recent topic of AIDS virus denial, some may think it has
 > been put to
 > bed a long time ago.  But apparently it has not.  I think some of
 > the posts
 > on our list have been useful in increasing our understanding of
 > differentaspects of the issue: e.g. 1) the real effects of this
 > denial on people's
 > lives (as described in the posts from South Africa), 2) the
 > importance of
 > diet as a factor in the disease, and 3) the social history of this
 > use/abuseof "science".   It indeed seems to be a "cautionary tale"
 > on the
 > interference of politics (in this case "leftist" politics) with
 > scientificprogress.
 >
 > Of course there are the problems of excessive email volume and egos.
 > Obviously, there comes a time, when enough has been said about an
 > issue and
 > it is time to "move on".   But, I doubt that there is any way to
 > "enforce"this on an open list.
 >
 > Thanks to all who have contributed their time and effort to this
 > discussion.
 > With best regards,
 >
 > Frank
 > ***************************************
 > Frank S. Rosenthal, Ph.D.
 > Associate Professor
 > Purdue University School of Health Sciences
 > 550 Stadium Mall Dr.
 > West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA
 > tel: 765-494-0812, fax: 765-496-1377,
 > e-mail: [log in to unmask]
 > ***************************************
 >
 > -----Original Message-----
 > From: Science for the People Discussion List
 > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric
 > EntemannSent: Friday, February 16, 2007 9:49 PM
 > To: [log in to unmask]
 > Subject: Re: list clutter
 >
 > I haven't read all the postings, but have not seen anyone refer to
 > quackwatch.org.  In my opinion the site has excellent articles
 > debunking
 > such dangerous nonsense as naturopathy and homeopathy, as well as
 > the
 > so-called vitamin therapies for AIDS.
 >
 > ----Original Message Follows----
 > From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
 > Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
 > <[log in to unmask]>
 > To: [log in to unmask]
 > Subject: Re: list clutter
 > Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 21:57:40 +0100
 >
 > With all due respect to George, I am going to object quite
 > strenuously to
 > this characterization of the debate. If you look back at the entire
 > thread,you will see that Cohen and Campbell posted one discredited
 > and dubious link
 > after another in support of their HIV denialism, each one of which I
 > demonstrated to be either misleading or factually incorrect. If I
 > impliedthat they were ignorant asses as I did so, I think that
 > implication was
 > entirely justified by what I consider to be their dishonest
 > attempts to
 > further their agenda and their complete disregard for scientific
 > evidence.They cited Duesberg, they cited Rath, and as Carrol
 > pointed out, that is
 > pretty reprehensible. I have also been told that nearly everyone here
 > believes that HIV causes AIDS, and that few here believe this is a
 > legitimate topic for debate on this list. I don't think those of us
 > who are
 > combatting AIDS denialism have closed minds, any more than those of
 > us who
 > think there is ample evidence for the theory of evolution have
 > closed minds.
 >
 > On 2/16/07, George Salzman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
 > >
 > >  Thanks Larry,
 > >       I've refrained from this exchange, but been troubled by its
 > tone. I
 > >concur with your comments. What troubles me most is not the alleged
 > >ignorance of Mitchel Cohen or Jonathan Campbell but the unbridled
 > arrogance>of some of those who disagree with them and who seem
 > determined to keep
 > >their minds closed. It ought to be possible to believe
 > passionately that
 > >someone's ideas are totally incorrect without attacking them
 > personally and
 > >attributing bad motives to them.
 > >Sincerely,
 > >*George *<george.salzman (at) umb.edu>
 > >
 > >Larry Romsted wrote:
 > >
 > >Michael [Balter]:
 > >
 > >I mostly just read (lurk on) this list because a long time ago and
 > what>seemed like another galaxy I was a subscriber to SESPA and
 > because I think
 > >of myself as a progressive, leftist scientist.  I am generally silent
 > >because many of the issues discussed on this list like HIV are simply
 > >outside my area of expertise.  I am a physical organic chemist by
 > training>doing research in colloid and surface chemistry and trying
 > to keep the harm
 > >I do in my science to a minimum.  Not easy when one has to
 > scrounge for
 > >money to keep it going.  You can find me on the Web.  I am the
 > only Romsted
 > >and I do chemistry at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
 > >
 > >But that is not why I am writing.  I want to address your use of
 > the word
 > >"troll" to describe Mitchel Cohen ( I do not know Campbell).
 > >
 > >In brief, wrong.
 > >
 > >Mitchel is a long time political activist in New York City and we
 > are of a
 > >similar age.  I have been active in spurts since the early
 > sixties, a bit
 > >as
 > >an undergraduate and then more as a graduate student at Indiana
 > University.>  Mitchel has been continuously active.  I first met
 > Mitchel during the
 > >political struggle around WBAI and Pacifica.  We worked together
 > >periodically for about four years on the effort to bring democracy to
 > >Pacifica.  That struggle is not over and Mitchel is currently
 > serving on
 > >the
 > >Local Station Board of WBAI.  I am currently holed up in my
 > chemistry
 > >office
 > >doing the publish or perish bit.
 > >
 > >Mitchel and I have never had extensive discussions about science,
 > health,>etc., because we were always talking about WBAI/Pacifica.
 > But I know this.
 > >  Mitchel is NOT malicious.  He does not try to sow dissension.
 > Not his
 > >goal.  He does state his opinions and tries to do so clearly.
 > >
 > >So, when you disagree with him, just say so.  He will listen.
 > >
 > >In struggle,
 > >
 > >Larry Romsted
 > >
 > >
 > >
 >
 >
 > --
 > www.michaelbalter.com
 >
 > ******************************************
 > Michael Balter
 > Contributing Correspondent, Science
 > [log in to unmask]
 > ******************************************
 >
 > _________________________________________________________________
 > Find a local pizza place, movie theater, and more..then map the
 > best route!
 > http://maps.live.com/?icid=hmtag1&FORM=MGAC01
 >

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